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Pearl Harbor: An Orchestrated Event?
Paul Craig Roberts
In November, 1944, US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson snapped to the US Secretary of the Treasury that he was worn out “from working the last two weeks on the Pearl Harbor report to keep out anything that might hurt the President.” — Churchill’s War, Vol. II
December 7, 2020. Today is the 79th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the event that brought the US into the war against Germany and Japan. Eight American battleships were sunk or put out of action, and about 3,600 American sailors were killed or wounded.
Washington needed scapegoats, and Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short were saddled with the blame for American unpreparedness for the Pearl Harbor attack. As time passed circumstantial evidence came to light that President Roosevelt knew of the attack and permitted the devastation in order that the American people would be so outraged by the attack as to give up their resistance to being dragged into another European war. The controversy continued for some years. I am unsure that it was ever resolved.
When I was a Wall Street Journal editor, the chief intelligence officer of the US Pacific Fleet at the time of the Japanese attack, Admiral Edwin T. Layton, published a book, And I Was There. Layton proved to my satisfaction that foreknowledge of the attack was known in Washington, perhaps not specifically that Japan would attack Pearl Harbor, but it was definitely known that Japan was about to attack in force. Layton attributed Pearl Harbor’s vulnerability to the tendency of Washington to monopolize naval intelligence and not share it with operational commanders. Whether or not Layton believed this or simply could not say that the warning was withheld in order to clear the obstacle to war, I cannot say. Nevertheless, for Washington to know an attack was forthcoming and still take no action to put Pearl Harbor on high alert or send the fleet to sea is puzzling. Kimmel’s predecessor had been fired because he would not agree with Washington’s insistance on keeping the Pacific Fleet in such a vulnerable location as Pearl Harbor while the likelihood of war increased.
The publisher of Layton’s book sent me a copy. As a Wall Street Journal editor with a column of my own, I assumed I could write a review of Admiral Layton’s book, but I was prohibited.
I don’t say this to embarrass my former colleagues. My point is that the Establishment is very protective of Establishment positions and institutions. The same protectiveness that can prevent the review of a book can prevent the correction of an obviously stolen presidential election.
Americans were brought up on the story of duplicitous Japanese who were fooling Washington with peace negotiations even as the Japanese fleet sailed to Pearl Harbor. Reading the second volume of David Irving’s biography of Winston Churhill (published in 2001) makes it clear that it was Roosevelt and Churchill who were fooling the Japanese and manipulating them into war.
Irving himself seldom gives his opinion. He simply searches out all available documents and quotes from them, and he tells you where to find the documents so you can check up on him. The British and Americans had broken the Japanese codes and were reading the diplomatic and military secret messages and discussing them between themselves, sometimes withholding important information from one another. The documents indicate that Japan did not want war with the US and Britain and was trying to arrive at a peaceful settlement of the difficulty caused by Roosevelt’s cutoff of Japan from oil. It was obvious to all that if Japan was denied oil, Japan would have to go for the oil in Dutch Indonesia, which meant that British and US bases in the region would come under Japanese attack. The documents show that both Roosevelt and Churchill agreed that the British and Americans could not move first and that Japan had to be manuvered into attacking Britain or the US.
Irving presents a large amount of official information, but he reports that many of the files remain under lock and key and that some files to which he gained access are empty. Some documents have been lost or misplaced or destroyed. Obviously, the facts are not convenient for the British and American governments and are still withheld many decades later.
There are two kinds of historians: court historians who make themselves popular by telling stories that please and revisionist historians who replace reassuring histories with factual ones that are upsetting. The latter have a rough time. This is especially the case for David Irving whose histories show that it was not only Hitler and Tojo who wore black hats but also Roosevelt and Churchill.
Once you escape controlled explanations, you can reasonably arrive at the conclusion that World War II was caused by Churchill and Roosevelt. Churchill rode to power as prime minister on his demonization of Germany and the gratuitous British guarantee to Poland that committed the British to war against Germany. Roosevelt caused war with Japan by a series of insults and cutting Japan off from oil. Roosevelt knew that this would force Japan into war with the US. Just as Hitler made it clear that he did not want war with Britain and France, the Japanese made it clear that Japan did not want war with the US and Britain. But they got war anyway.
Roosevelt wanted Britain at war, because Roosevelt knew a bankrupt and exhausted Britain could be shorn of its empire, and American financial and economic leadership would replace British financial and economic leadership.
The American Empire was indeed the main outcome of World War II.